Will land banks cash in vacant property?

    This week, Philadelphia City Council got to work on a problem that’s bedeviled the city for decades: the vast inventory of abandoned properties and vacant land rotting away and depressing home values in numerous neighborhoods. Our Elizabeth Fiedler filed this report Friday on the resolution by Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez to create a datebase of blighted property and vacant land and a policy for getting it off the list and onto the city’s tax rolls.

    Our partners at PlanPhilly, who have championed this issue for a long time now, have a more in-depth report here. Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez’s bill, and the counterpart resolution from Councilman Bill Green to streamline tax collection on those neglected properties, quoted liberally from a PlanPhilly/Philadelphia Inquirer investigative report on the subject, linked here.

    The effort is the raison d’etre of The Campaign to Take Back Vacant Land, a coalition of Philly-based nonprofits working to do what it sounds like.

    Selling or Transferring Publicly Owned Vacant Properties was also one of the Next Great City Coalition’s priorities for City Council candidates this year.

    One thing’s for certain: Whatever City Council does, the problem is so big it’s going to take a long time, if ever, to resolve.

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